HORN LAKE, Miss. — Horn Lake Police Department releases exclusive details leading up to the police pursuit that ended in Southaven with two people dead.
Initially, another law enforcement agency reported the pursuit was in connection to a stolen vehicle, we have since learned that was not the case.
Horn Lake Police were conducting a traffic operation when an officer spotted a driver allegedly speeding.
“I’ve got a refusal northbound 51 in a black Infiniti, Tennessee tags,” an officer on the radio said. “Speed is going to be about 70.”
MDOT footage shows them weaving in and out of traffic on Highway 51, prompting Horn Lake Police to reach out to Southaven Police and the Desoto County Sheriff’s office, who deployed stop sticks. Despite those efforts, the driver was undeterred.
“He just ran the red light at Mississippi Valley, we’re continuing northbound,” the officer said. “I’m gonna terminate he’s getting out of control now. He’s well over a 100.”
Just as the officer reportedly pulled back, the three-minute pursuit came to an abrupt ending. “Lost control, lost control. He wrecked out,” the officer said.
The driver crashed along Highway 51 and Veteran Boulevard, causing a multi-vehicle accident. The driver of the vehicle and the passenger died, along with five other people being taken to the hospital.
Horn Lake Police Chief Troy Rowell says, “My heart aches for those people. Again, they were simply driving down the road because somebody made the decision not to stop, this is the outcome.”
In recent days, HLPD’s pursuit policy has been called into question. Chief Rowell says it’s at the officer’s discretion to pursue and that he stands behind it.
“Do I have regrets that people were injured? Absolutely, you shouldn’t be doing this job if you’re happy somebody got injured,” Chief Rowell said. “Do I think law enforcement should not pursue? I do not think that. If crime goes unpunished it’s going to continue to occur.”
The chief tells WREG that an internal investigation is underway to determine if the officer’s actions were justified. As for the five people injured, no word yet on how they are doing.